See more of the story

With 38.1 seconds left in the third quarter, Lynx guard Kayla McBride stepped to the line and hit two free throws.

A 12-point Las Vegas lead was down to one. In a physical game the Lynx had answered a shove with a push.

But then it all got away.

In an 80-66 loss to the Aces at Target Center on Wednesday, the Lynx got to the cusp of a comeback only to be outscored 23-10 over the final 10-plus minutes. Minnesota (4-2) tried to match the Aces' physicality, but ultimately succumbed to it, setting season lows in points, field goals made and assists, while losing at home for the first time in three games this season.

"I'm happy we saw this," Napheesa Collier said. She led the Lynx with 18 points and 13 rebounds, and had a block and two steals. But she made just six of 16 shots. "It's so much better to see this in the sixth game than in the playoffs, getting punched in the mouth and having to deal with it."

That, almost literally, was what the Aces (4-1) did.

Las Vegas pressured the ball up top and made getting in and out of screens hard. Underneath, A'ja Wilson (29 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks) basically made everything difficult.

"They had some success impeding us," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "Trying to get us to places. And they were successful doing that legally, which is hard to do in this league. We didn't get the movement, the screening. Everything was slower. We started to get impatient."

But for most of three quarters it was a give-and-take game. The Aces — led by Wilson, Jackie Young (19 points, 10 assists) and Kelsey Plum (10 points) — led by two after a quarter, nine at the half and then 12 early in the third quarter.

But then Alanna Smith scored, and the Lynx got a stop. Collier scored in the post, was fouled, and made the free throw.

That was the start of a 22-11 run that featured 11 points from Collier and five from McBride, the last two coming on those free throws that made it a one-point game.

Talk about a momentum change. At the other end, left wide open, Kate Martin hit her third three of the game. After one of Courtney Williams' six turnovers, Wilson scored. Then the Aces opened the fourth quarter 8-2 to go up 12.

BOXSCORE: Las Vegas 80, Lynx 66

Williams scored 12 on 6-for-13 shooting and kept a good lid on Plum's scoring, but focused on her turnovers after the game.

"I can't turn the ball over this much," she said. "I 100 percent have to not turn the ball over as much as I did."

McBride scored 11 points, but needed 11 shots to do it. Had the Lynx defense not been so good — the Aces, for example, managed just eight points off 17 Lynx turnovers — the final might have been more one-sided.

"I'd say our defense gave us a chance," Reeve said. "We battled, mostly. Typically, when you are frustrated on offense, they keep coming at you and you have breakdowns because you're not putting the ball in the hole."

The Lynx entered the game as the top-ranked defensive team in the WNBA. But it was the Aces who dictated the play. Minnesota shot 36.9%, was out-rebounded 41-36 and outscored 32-18 in the paint.

"We didn't get good movement," Reeve said. "We didn't sprint to our screens. We gave into letting them push us off our spot."